On Food. And Trying Desperately Not to Eat It.

Hubby (yes the personal trainer) has been working such unbelievably long days (most days from 7am to 9pm), that unless he sneaks in a run during a canceled appointment, or gets to do a workout with one of his years-long clients, he rarely gets into a good workout routine. Me, his ironically fitness opposite, do have time to work out, but don’t. Oops. Sorry.

In my first year of college, I was dating someone that wanted to try out vegetarianism. So I decided to try it out with him. We broke up about a year later, but I continued meatlessness for seven years. (He stopped shortly after we broke up, as he just wasn’t getting enough calories and felt he was losing too much weight). I was at my heaviest when I started, and the diet actually helped me stay out of fast food places, and because I didn’t want to be the vegetarian living off cheese sticks, I started eating pretty healthy. Now when I think about it, this must have been how I lost most of my about 60 pounds in early college. Because I sure as hell wasn’t working out that often : )

Back to hubby.

Even though we didn’t have a particularly glutinous thanksgiving this year, I do enjoy using the holiday as an excuse to make everything from scratch (as it should be!) and well…..with butter (also as it should be!). And since the last few months I’ve had night shifts at a restaurant and haven’t been able to make the healthy dinners that I strive to make every night, I think we’re both feeling a little…..well….fat.

In talking to an old acquaintance of ours at a recent backyard bbq, hubs must have been taking notes. Because yesterday, while he was in the shower and I was in the bathroom milling around (sometimes we do that – keep each other company while the other showers. We don’t see each other very often these days!), he began buttering me up for a new idea, starting with, “I’m not ready to start right this minute…” and “perhaps we can do it just for the month…” and I teasingly retorted, “this will be good…” and “maybe I should just say ‘no’ right now,” until he finally landed with a big “maybe we should do this one diet that is like from way back where you eat no carbs or beans or anything.”

“The CAVE MAN diet? Have you been talking to Michael?!”

A sheepish “yes” was all I got from behind the shower curtain.

“But what will I do without carbs? Do you want to live with the nightmare that will result?”

Yet another sheepish response from behind the shower curtain…”no.”

We giggled and then I teased him about being “Mr. Anti-Diet” and “Mr. look who finally feels fat and bloated enough to stop rolling his eyes at me and suggest a (*gasp*) DIET!” Okay I may have also added, “He who tells his clients, ‘It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change,’ is, in effect, ready to go on a diet.”

We giggled again and then I left the bathroom. I couldn’t let things get serious enough for him to back me into a diet corner. NO. WAY.

But it did get me thinking. My change in schedule has really changed the way we eat. I can’t bear him picking up fast food three nights out of the week anymore either. And I’ll just go ahead and share one of my old-fashioned thoughts on marriage that is….are you ready for it? Here it comes: I consider it my wifely duty to ensure that my husband (and future family) eat nutritious meals. Now I’ll come back to the 21st century and admit that if it’s the husband that works less hours and enjoys cooking, then it can be his husbandy duties. But lets face it people. Women are not only traditionally, (but thanks to all the awesome food network stars that have made culinary adventures fun), we have remained the rulers of the kitchen.

Ain’t no shame, ladies. We ROCK that room! Go head with your whiskin’ and blendin’ gurrrl!

So today, in procrastination of other things I should be doing (hey I cleaned the house before I opened up the laptop!), I started perusing the web for ideas.

The first thing I thought about was the Mediterranean Diet. You see, I’m not really interested in dieting per se. I want to reintroduce healthy food-related practices to our kitchen instead. When we first moved in together, it was all about whole-grains and having some sort of vegetable or salad with every meal. We never buy chips or soda and very rarely have candy or cookies. Unfortunately, in the absence of these things, I think our (MY) weight gain is a direct result of very large portions. What can I say….I like to eat. And when something savory taste good, I like to eat lots of it.

SO I’m thinking we should try the Mediterranean Diet out this month, to see if it’s something we can incorporate (read: live with). I used to cook fish a lot actually, but ever since we moved, I’ve kind of stopped. I think it’s because we both hate the smell of fish that lingers in the house afterwards. (If anyone has ideas on how to get rid of that, PLEASE let me know!) But I know it’s healthy, so I’m bringing it back.

Now then – onto my gripe. (Because I think I’ve started a minimum one-gripe per blog post and I don’t want to let the fans down.) In the interest of being lazy, I thought it would be nice to not just start with a list of foods that are encouraged on the diet, but perhaps use a meal plan to get us started.

Alas, I remembered how much I hate meal plans.

Okay, I don’t hate them. It’s just that, do the people who write them have a store nearby where they can purchase just 2 tbsp of red pepper hummus or half a cucumber? I understand wanting to provide variety in a diet, so that people are not feeling “deprived.” But how about providing a real-world, budget-friendly meal plan for which I can go to the store at the beginning of the week, and buy a handful of healthy ingredients that I can combine in different ways or use for lunch one day and breakfast the next, so that I don’t end up with a rotting assortment in my fridge because I had to buy a little bit of that and a little bit of this for two-servings of Wednesday’s dinner, and then never use that ingredient again all week?

I find it silly and wasteful. We have starving people in the world, nay, in our own country. I feel guilty throwing out perfectly good food. And having it there only makes me want to stray from the meal plan because I can’t bear (or don’t want to spend more money on) buying more ingredients when I have wonderful options in my fridge.

So please, meal plan writers of the world, point me in the direction of your tiny-little-box store so that I can buy one stick of celery, one chicken breast and a 1/2 can of beans for our soup tonight. Until then, I’ll apparently have to put forth some effort, and combine the ingredients from the Mediterranean grocery list, into something edible.

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